This Weekly Bulletin focuses on public health emergencies occurring in the WHO African Region. The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 70 events in the region. This week’s main articles cover key new and ongoing events, including:
- Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever in Mali
- Lassa fever in Nigeria
- Ebola virus disease in Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Humanitarian crisis in Burkina Faso
For each of these events, a brief description, followed by public health measures implemented and an interpretation of the situation is provided.
A table is provided at the end of the bulletin with information on all new and ongoing public health events currently being monitored in the region, as well as recent events that have largely been controlled and thus closed.
Major issues and challenges include:
The outbreak of Lassa fever in Nigeria continues to expand, with growing incidence cases as well as new affected states. In recent years, the country has been experiencing increasingly larger Lassa fever outbreaks. This trend is of great concern and calls for increased efforts to scale up preparedness and response actions, especially at sub-national and local levels. Importantly, the national authorities in Nigeria and the other countries where Lassa fever is endemic need to increase investments in longer-term preventive measures, including effective vector control and environmental management, social mobilization and community engagement strategies. These interventions need to be strongly routed on a good understanding of the local anthropological and epidemiological knowledge of the disease.
The humanitarian crisis in Burkina Faso continues to deteriorate, with worsening insecurity. Attacks on civilians, aid workers and military installations have sharply risen since January 2020. Accordingly, the number of displaced persons has reached unprecedented levels within a short period, grossly overwhelming the humanitarian response capacity on the ground.
There is a need to scale up humanitarian response capacity on the ground as well as the required inputs. Notably, efforts to restore peace and security should be enhanced by the global communities.